Friday, October 05, 2007


Today week is the opening of my exhibition Prayers For The Planet:We are all the same @ Doggett Street Gallery, Brisbane Friday 8 October 6-9 pm. This painting Universal Symphony will be in the exhibition.

On the 16th October I am giving a presentation for the Australian Centre For Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland. I have called the presentation Art, Artists + Conversations = Peace Talks? DETAILS 1:00 – 3:00 pm Sustainable Mining Institute Seminar Room, Level 4, Sir James Foots Building (no.47A) (Corner of Staff House Road and College Road, St Lucia, at J11 co-ordinates

My talk will be based around my experiences exhibiting overseas and the conversations I have had with people from all over the world. My exhibition in Abu Dhabi brought me so many wonderful conversations with people from all over the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. I say the exhibition brought the conversations to me because without the paintings these intimate interludes which occurred a number of times a day every day for 10 days would not have happened. It made me think about the potential for understanding and respect which could be stimulated by talking about art with artists. These conversations take both parties to places of memory and intimacy which I believe does not happen over the boardroom or diplomatic table.

This is not meant to become some sort of therapy or preconceived method. After all there are artists exhibiting all the time. There is no need to invent something...just noticing it would be great.

My experience is that the 'feel good' and entertainment aspect of art is understood but deeper aspects are not. This is particularly so with those government agencies who could really support artists. I have been to a number of Embassy/Hig Commission type arts events. The potential for deeper understanding and communication by opening up [metaphorically speaking] our collective soul is often lost in the 'show and tell' type atmosphere.

My experience has been that people in foreign countries want to 'see' who we really are. It is also intruguing because there seems to be a keener sense that culture is a way to achieve this. I don't feel that Australians [and other Western nations] really grasp that culture is seen this way. There seems to be a 'show off' mentality rather than a 'conversation' ie: involving two or more parties communicating by bouncing off each other and enjoying ideas and insights. In this process you do get to 'know' someone. Art and culture and the creators are the stimulants.

I have had a thought about the practice of conscripting celebrities to speak on behalf of major humanitarian agencies. The celebrity status is definitely a reason for these people to be chosen because it draws attention to the cause. But is there something else? These celebrities are mainly actors, actresses, singers etc. They are artists. Is there something about the way they communicate which differs? Do they 'see', 'feel', 'hear' things' differently? Does the creative pulse which runs through them give a different perspective which then produces different problem solving patterns and different conversations with people? I don't know really because I have never met one of these celebrities, but I think it is a worthwhile consideration. Let's not get
blinded by the notion of celebrity or the notion of value culture and art my have in $ terms. If we do get blinded we won't 'see' the real potential...which could be peace on earth.

Universal Symphony 120 x 160 cm Oil on linen

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